When I received my first contract with Love Inspired Books in 2013, I was so tickled to be able to use the phrase “my editor.” It meant I’d finally achieved my goal of becoming a published author.
While I’ve been with Love Inspired for eight years now, I’ve changed editors several times. I’m currently with my fourth editor, plus I’ve worked with two additional editors when my regular editor was on vacation or had some other extenuating circumstance. With each change, there was that momentary twinge of “What if she doesn’t like my writing? What if she doesn’t like me?”
Of course, my worries, while understandable, were all for naught. Yes, every editor has their own way of approaching things. Each has a different personality. One may not care for a particular turn of phrase I'm prone to using, while another never mentions it. Yet in each case, the transition turned out to be a positive experience. I’ve learned from each editor and that has grown me as a writer. How? By adhering to some basic principles.
Be professional – Your editor is your partner. He/she has entered into a contract with you, like someone you might hire to remodel your bathroom. You are to provide the expected work to their satisfaction at the time you both agreed to, and, along the way, they will provide input in the form of revisions/edits. Yes, their requests might have you groaning or wondering why they bought your book in the first place. Still, you shove those feelings aside and get to back to work.
Don’t argue with your editor. If you have a valid point you’d like to discuss with them, do it in a respectful manner. And don’t ever share your displeasure on social media. This should go without saying, I know, but there’s always one.
Be open – Discuss your career goals with your editor. This is particularly true if you change editors or are nearing the end of your current contract. Be sure to bring a new editor up to date on your career thus-far. Let them know how many books you’ve done with that publisher. Tell them your plans for the future. Are you already working on a proposal for a new series with them or are you looking to go in a different direction? You never want to burn any bridges. However, if you plan to stay with that publisher, your editor will be your advocate in growing your career.
Don’t make demands. Editors don’t want or need difficult people when there are many talented authors waiting in the wings.
Be flexible – This is a must no matter where you are in your writing career because things are always changing. If you find yourself having to work with a different editor, embrace the change. If your editor feels as though the second half of the book would be better done a different way, schedule a time to talk with him/her to discuss those changes, then go into the meeting with an open mind. And never forget that editors are people, too. They make mistakes and overlook things which can occasionally result in a tight deadline for you. Whenever possible, do your best to meet that deadline. Of course, the flipside of that coin is that sometimes life throws us a curveball and we find you’re not going to be able to meet a long-established deadline. If that happens, contact your editor right away and let them know the circumstances so they can work with you.
Don’t dig in your heels or set unrealistic goals/deadlines.
The author-editor relationship should be one of mutual respect and your attitude helps set the tone. By being professional, open and flexible, you’re opening the door to the possibility of a wonderful career.
Now it's your turn. What elements do you think are important to a successful author-editor relationship?
In other news, A Brother’s Promise, book two in my Bliss, Texas series, is now available! Leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy (U.S. mailing addresses only, please). Also, I’m in the midst of a blog tour with JustReads Tours and there’s a nice prize package involved. Click here for details.
A BROTHER'S PROMISE
He didn’t realize he wanted a family… Until he suddenly became a single dad.
After his sister’s death, rancher Mick Ashford’s determined to ensure his orphaned niece, Sadie, feels at home. And accepting guidance from Christa Slocum is his first step. But just as Christa and Sadie begin to settle into Mick’s heart, Sadie’s paternal grandparents sue for custody. Now Mick must fight to keep them together…or risk losing the makeshift family he’s come to love.
Get your copy HERE!
Award-winning author Mindy Obenhaus is passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. She lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, two sassy pups, countless cattle, deer and the occasional coyote, mountain lion or snake. When she's not writing, she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, cooking and watching copious amounts of the Hallmark Channel. Learn more at www.MindyObenhaus.com